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Lafave going to trial in sex case

Plea agreements broke down for the middle school teacher accused of having sex with her 14-year-old student.

By CANDACE RONDEAUX
Published July 18, 2005


Debra Lafave, the middle school teacher accused of having sex with her 14-year-old student, will go to trial in December.

Prosecutors and Lafave's attorney, John Fitzgibbons, told Hillsborough Circuit Judge Wayne Timmerman Monday that they were unable to reach a plea agreement in her case. Charged with two counts of lewd and lacivious battery after she allegedly had sex with her Greco Middle School student last June, Lafave was ordered to undergo further psychological evaluation before the trial.

Fitzgibbons said plea negotiations broke down because prosecutors were demanding too much prison time for his client. He said he had hoped to avoid a trial to save both Lafave and the teenage boy public embarrassment.

But now jurors will get a chance to hear Lafave's planned insanity defense and learn more about the emotional distress that might have led Lafave to seduce the boy, Fitzgibbons added. A state psychologist said in a 37-page report that Lafave was not insane when she allegedly had sex with the boy.

Monday's court order calls for Lafave to meet with two additional court appointed doctors for further psycholgical testing. Lafave's trial is scheduled for Dec. 5.